In lieu of any sort of best of list for the year, some of the more memorable games I’ve played and why they might make a list of such things. No formal ordering because my tastes are many and varied, so most likely this will be in brain order.
Rock Band: Beatles and Rock Band 2
Turns out, I’m a sucker for fake plastic drums. The guitar element to me is all but vestigial and I rarely have any interest in singing, but in another life I was a percussionist and anything that brings me within spitting distance of that life brings me joy. Guitar Hero 5 should probably also get a mention for it’s party play friendliness but to be honest I haven’t clocked in nearly as many hours with the poppier half brother title.
Team Fortress 2
Serious kudos for the Valve team consistently reinventing the wheel here. TF2 is becoming the Madonna of videogames and is unlikely to ever get old thanks to the constant and consistent and fun updates. If other developers learn nothing else from Valve it’s that updates shouldn’t be announced in bullet points. A joy to jump in every so often and click to kill random strangers who wear a different colour to me. I’ll never be great at it but I’ll invariably have fun when I get on a rare roll and that’s definitely worth a mention.
I suspected I might like this but didn’t get it till it was on discount. A pretty fair call but I enjoyed it far more than I ever expected in strength of its writing and animation and not to mention surprisingly compelling gameplay.
I occasionally forget the generic title of this hyperbolic deathsim so that’s as good a reason as any to get it on this list and make sure I remember that I did play it through to the end. It’s kinda sorta not a great game, but in a way I consider it an apex of the absurd upgrade system game design that’s getting more and more abstract and less and less interesting or clever. This is a game that allowed you to purchase abilities that required button combinations that simply weren’t feasible. What genius decided holding down the X and B buttons was ok? Anyway I’m hoping that the future will bring better examples of upgrading abilities. Crackdown did this very well. We seem to have gone backwards.
I actually haven’t played this through to any sort of ending and that kind of saddens me. To be honest the clickfest gameplay simply isn’t compelling enough to drive me further, and in fact I’ve never completed any game of this style despite fundamentally agreeing with the core loot-grind-skills concept. In practice it’s simply too exhausting, and doesn’t vary enough.
I enjoyed this game but didn’t love it to death. It seemed like it missed as many notes as it hit dead on. But yes, ultimately an enjoyable experience, and some of the best gaming conversation I’ve had this year was describing the crazy weapons I found.
Dragon Age: Origins
Playing the motherloving bajeezus out of this and it truly makes for one of the most breathtaking experiences of its kind. For the first time in a Bioware game I’m actually finding conversations difficult to navigate for moral reasons, and all without a moral slider to arbitrarily slip up and down! They’ve definitely made some great strides since Mass Effect, and if they carry on in this form for Mass Effect 2 I am so entirely there.
That’ll do for now, I’m sure I’ll have more to add later.